Sentinel Ireland

Mission statement: to assist water managers to move data collection forward into the 21st century and improve the capacity of monitoring programmes to take account of the highly complex spatial and
temporal dynamics of lakes.

The aim of INFER is to develop products that will allow for improved efficiency and implementation of lake monitoring programmes.

Many regulatory instruments, particularly the Water Framework Directive, have extensive operational monitoring programmes associated with their implementation. However, the way in which data is collected, in contrast to the way we process and analyse samples in the laboratory, has hardly made
any progress since the 19th century. Current lake monitoring programs are based on infrequent in-situ measurements in a very limited number of lakes.

A typical methodology involves usually at least two people, a vehicle with trailer and instrumentation travelling from lake to lake. Some measurements are carried out in-situ, while in addition water samples are taken to a laboratory for analyses. Many measurements are extremely laborious. For example, primary production measurements may take two
hours to a day to complete, with incubations of water samples in the lake, followed by laboratory analyses.

The whole procedure is time consuming and consequently costly. Sampling is typically carried out at a single or limited number of lake stations, usually at the deepest point of the lake. Thus, conventional monitoring covers a very small fraction of each lake, is time consuming and labour intensive, provides only a snapshot of the situation in the lakes and only from one point assuming a homogeneous repartition across the rest of the lake, which is obviously very rarely the case.

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This project is funded under the EPA Research Programme 2014-2020. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

It is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the statutory function of coordinating and promoting environmental research.

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